2 Memphis business owners charged with COVID-19 relief fraud

The Justice Department said the two business owners stole funds through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A federal grand jury has indicted two Memphis business owners for stealing $786,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz announced Friday.

Lisa Evans, 40, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, owner of USA Taxes in Memphis; and Kevin Shaw, 33, of Memphis, owner of Freight Masters, Inc., are charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud and making false statements to the FBI statement. insured bank.

According to the indictment, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal program administered by the Small Business Administration to provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount of PPP loans that a small business may be eligible for depends on the number of employees and the total payroll of the business. Evans and Shaw are accused of submitting fraudulent PPP applications for Shaw’s business, Freight Master’s Group Inc., to banks participating in the PPP program.

Evans allegedly provided Shaw with falsified IRS documents to support his fraudulent application, and then received kickbacks/fees from Shaw after Shaw received $786,202 in loan proceeds.

Each of these offenses carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

“These federal aid programs are designed to help hard-working citizens and small businesses in times of need,” Ritz said. But, as the indictment alleges, these individuals attempted to defraud the aid programs. Thanks to our partners for investigating these violations. We will continue to prosecute those who misuse and abuse COVID-19 benefits. ”

“Treasury’s Inspector General for Taxation Aggressively Goes After Those Who Try to Abuse the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and its Paycheck Protection Program, Created to Assist Legal Business Owners During the Pandemic,” J. Russell George said the Treasury Inspector General for Taxation.

The case was investigated by agents from five different federal agencies — the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Inspector General, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Tax Inspector General (TIGTA) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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